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Vaccinate vs Vaccine

With the current pandemic and worldwide health crisis, “vaccinate” and “vaccine” became two of the most thematic and frequently used two words, by both native English users and non-natives. And with their frequent use, came confusions. “Vaccinate” and “vaccine” are indeed two very similar words, regarding their spelling and pronunciation, but this shouldn’t be an excuse to use them incorrectly.So, let’s discuss the meaning of each word and understand where the confusion comes from, before actually defining and learning how to correctly use “vaccinate” and “vaccine” from now on. Here’s what they mean and how to place them in the right contexts.

2:01 min read
  Charlotte B  —  Grammar Tips
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Vaccinate vs. Vaccine

It’s quite obvious how the confusion between “vaccinate” and “vaccine” occurs, as the first six letters of both words are completely identical. But the explanation is also quite simple and easy to remember. The main and only difference between these two words is their grammatical function.

The core concept is the same; both words refer to the administration of a preventive antidote for a certain disease. But whereas one is a noun, referring to the actual medicine, the other is a verb, describing the action of administering that medicine. So which one is which? That’s what we’ll be discussing in the next two sections of this article.

When do we use “vaccinate”?

This one is the verb! “Vaccinate” is the word defining the action of giving someone a vaccine in order to stop or prevent them from getting a certain disease. Check how you’ll find the word used in sentences by taking a look at the example below.

Example: We need to vaccinate as many people as possible in order to prevent them from getting infected with this new virus. – “vaccinate” is a verb defining the action of giving someone a vaccine.

When do we use “vaccine”?

Vaccinate vs Vaccine

“Vaccine”, the shorter word, is the noun, defining the actual substance that people are vaccinated with, in order to prevent them from getting sick. A “vaccine” is a substance that is given (usually injected) to people, to prevent them from getting a particular disease.

Example: The vaccine is very effective against this new virus. – “vaccine” is always a noun defining the substance people are injected with in order to stop them from getting a certain disease.


Both words refer to the same core concept of injecting a substance to prevent from getting sick from a particular disease. The difference between them is quite subtle in their meanings and their similar spellings. But here’s the easiest way to remember which word is the noun and which one is the verb: keep in mind the next short sentence.

“A vaccine is a substance you vaccinate yourself with, to prevent from getting a disease”. This sentence clearly shows that “vaccine” is the noun referring to the substance injected, whereas “vaccinate” is the verb defining the actual action of injecting the “vaccine” (the substance), to prevent from getting a disease. Don’t hesitate to share this article with your friends if you found it useful!

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